At Coppice Valley, we pride ourselves on our progressive approaches to school improvement and staff development training. We use national and international educational research and evidence to inform our choices. In so doing, we can remain objective about choosing the best approaches, practices and policies for our pupils.
Developing teacher effectiveness is the purpose of staff training. The UK's Standards for Teachers' Professional Development cites that for training to be effective it must be sustained, collaborative, have teacher buy-in, be subject specific, draw on external expertise and be practice-based. Research since the standards were released has questioned the relevance of any of these aspects when an essential factor in teacher training is omitted; habit formation. For example, a teacher can attend an inspirational course but then go back to old habits in the classroom. Breaking old habits and taking on new changes is hard work. Fletcher-Wood and Sims' research (TES, 21.09.18) into teacher development, stated that the most effective programmes in schools build in "instructional coaching" - frequent, individual, targeted guidance on small steps to improve. Coaching in this way helps to break habits and build new behaviours.
Our leadership model incorporates this coaching model into staff development. The deputy head supports staff in and out of the classroom, over a sustained period of time, to develop new teaching and learning behaviours. These skills are chosen because they link to our school improvement priorities or are personalised to enhance the needs of individual teachers.
Workload and Wellbeing
School leaders are committed to ensuring all staff have a manageable workload. Our staff development programme is considerate of the demands put on staff. Pace of change and creating a fear-free culture in which to grow and develop are central to our work. The DfE's Workload Reduction Toolkit has been used to review and reduce workload. We have identified workload challenges through structured conversations (stage 1) and addressed them (stage 2). The impact of changes will be reviewed (stage 3) in due course.
Ways we have reduced workload:
- committed to a positive culture for change management i.e. sharing the need for change, consulting with staff, implementing changes at a reasonable pace with reasonable expectations, providing training and support.
- created an efficient marking and feedback system that works for pupils and staff
- invested in curriculum planning and provision materials that reduce workload for staff
- reduced the amount and frequency of data collection required, insisting on no duplication of data collection and the smart use of data for multiple purposes
- using the full functionality of Office 365 for schools for effective communication and recording of staff project work i.e. Teams
- providing time within the school day for teachers and teaching assistants to communicate about pupils, teaching and learning
- providing time to work with colleagues to plan together
- providing staff early in their career with additional support and training from the Deputy